United States Naval Academy

Joe Bellino, the “Winchester Rifle” is the first Naval Academy football player to win the Heisman Trophy.

“The Winchester Rifle”

Joe Bellino

RB | Senior | United States Naval Academy

Joe Bellino, the “Winchester Rifle” is the first Naval Academy football player to win the Heisman Trophy.

Born and raised in Winchester, Mass., Bellino was a three-sport star for Winchester High. He was good enough in baseball to be offered a contract out of high school by the Pittsburgh Pirates, but he chose to play football for Navy despite offers from Notre Dame and several Big Ten schools.

After a year in prep school, Bellino became an instant star for the Midshipmen. In his three years at Navy, he scored 31 touchdowns, rushed for 1,664 yards on 330 carries, returned 37 kicks for 833 more yards and altogether set 15 Naval Academy football records.

In 1960, Bellino rushed for 834 yards and 15 touchdowns and scored another three TDs via pass receptions. He was a unanimous All-America selection and also the winner of the Maxwell Award. He won the Heisman handily over Richie Lucas of Penn State, totaling 1,929 points to Lucas’ 613.

In addition to his football exploits, Bellino was an outstanding catcher and outfielder on Navy baseball teams. He hit .428 in 22 games in 1959 and led the Eastern Intercollegiate League in stolen bases. He had a .320 average in 1960 and was the baseball team captain in 1961.

Bellino’s number 27 jersey was retired after the 1960 season. He had a three-year stint with the Boston Patriots after he had completed his four-year service obligation. He then stayed in the Navy Reserves and reached the rank of Captain.

Bellino was a 1977 inductee into the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame and was a charter inductee into the Maryland Football Shrine in 1984.

Bellino is semi-retired after working for 40 years in the auto leasing and auction industry. His son, John, is a 1989 graduate of the Naval Academy, and his daughter, Therese, is a public school teacher in Cambridge, Mass.

More Articles About Joe Bellino

Heisman Voting Results

Number of electors: 1,130 - Announced: November 29, 1960.

 PlayerClassPositionSchool1st2nd3rdTotal Points
1Joe BellinoSRHBNavy436196931,793
2Tom BrownSRGMinnesota127121108731
3Jake GibbsSRQBMississippi747777453
4Ed DyasSRFBAuburn466355319
5Billy KilmerSRHBUCLA554231280
6Mike DitkaSRTEPittsburgh175268223
7Tom MatteSRQBOhio State174230165
8Danny LaRoseSRDEMissouri162832136
9Pervis AtkinsSRHBNew Mexico State251813124
10E.J. HolubSRC-LBTexas Tech142329117

Three points are awarded for first place on a ballot, with two points for second place and one point for third place.

Heisman Voting By Region

At this time, Heisman voters are spread out across five regions.


1Joe Bellino
2Jake Gibbs
3Ed Dyas
4Tom Brown
5Mike Ditka


1Joe Bellino
2Mike Ditka
3Tom Brown
4Ernie Davis
5Ed Dyas


1Joe Bellino
2Tom Brown
3Tom Matte
4Danny LaRose
5Jake Gibbs


1Joe Bellino
2Jake Gibbs
3Pervis Atkins
4E.J. Holub
5Tom Brown

Far West

1Joe Bellino
2Billy Kilmer
3Tom Brown
4Roy McKasson
5Jake Gibbs


Game-by-game statistics for Joe Bellino’s 1960 season are unavailable at this time.

Here are his Heisman season totals for 1960:

DateRankingRecordRush AttYdsAvgTDsRecYdsAvg.TDsPRYdsAvgTDKORYdsAvgTDsPlaysAPYYPPTotal TDs
Heisman StatsAP #4, UPI #49-11688344.96151728016.47359719.4001328622.00020515447.5318
1/1/61+ #5 MissouriL 21-14840.50033713.3311
Totals#4 in both polls9-21768384.76152031715.85459719.4001328622.00020515447.5319

In 1960 Bellino also kicked two extra points, had 2 interceptions for 47 yards, 11 quick kicks for a 47.1 yard average and was 5/14 for 112 yards and 2 TDs as a passer.


Joe Bellino - Heisman Winner 1960 - US Navy Academy
Joe Bellino - Heisman Winner 1960- US Navy Academy